Optical properties and appearance of fused deposition modelling filaments

Alina Pranovich*, Sasan Gooran, Jeppe Revall Frisvad, Daniel Nyström

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

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The appearance of 3D-printed objects is affected by numerous parameters. Specifically, the colour of each point on the surface is affected not only by the applied material, but also by the neighbouring segments as well as by the structure underneath it. Translucency of the 3D printing inks is the key property needed for reproduction of surfaces resembling natural materials. However, the prediction of colour appearance of translucent materials within the print is a complex task that is of great interest. In this work, a method is proposed for studying the appearance of translucent 3D materials in terms of the surface colour. It is shown how the thickness of the printed flat samples as well as the background underneath affect the colour. By studying diffuse reflectance and transmittance of layers of different thicknesses, apparent, spectral optical properties were obtained, i.e., extinction and scattering coefficients, in the case of commercially available polylactic acid (PLA) filaments for Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) printers. The coefficients were obtained by fitting a simplistic model to the measured diffuse reflectance as a function of layer thickness. The results were verified by reconstructing reflected spectra with the obtained parameters and comparing the estimated colour to spectrophotometer measurements. The resulting colour differences in terms of the CIEDE2000 standard are all below 2.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Printing and Media Technology - Printing in the Digital Era : Proceedings of the 47th International Research Conference of iarigai
PublisherInternational Association of Research Organizations for the Information, Media and Graphic Arts Industries
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)978-3-9870704-1-9
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event47th IARIGAI International Conference on “Advances in Print and Media Technology”: Printing in the Digital Era - University of West Attica, Athens, Greece
Duration: 19 Sept 202124 Sept 2021
Conference number: 47


Conference47th IARIGAI International Conference on “Advances in Print and Media Technology”
LocationUniversity of West Attica
Internet address
SeriesAdvances in Printing and Media Technology


  • 3D printing
  • Appearance
  • Optical properties
  • PLA filaments
  • Translucency


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